Jonathan Edwards and the Polemics of Theosis

Bibliographic information:

Strobel, Kyle. “Jonathan Edwards and the Polemics of Theosis.” Harvard Theological Review 105 no. 3 (July 2012): 259-279.



In this article, I address the historic backdrop to Jonathan Edwards’s doctrine of theosis focusing specifically on his curious phrase “neither Godded with God nor Christed with Christ” from the Religious Affections. While this is a well known phrase in Edwards studies, no one has ever asked where it came from. Several scholars have mused about its origin, with no actual evidence for their views other than that another person used the same phrase. I show that this term comes from the Familists (or “Family of Love”), a heretical sect that infultrated New England in the generation preceding Edwards’s life and ministry. Putting Edwards’s use of this phrase in conversation with the heated debates with Chauncy, I argue that Edwards maintained a robustly Christian doctrine of theosis in the midst of these debates even as he was trying to distance himself from sub-Christian accounts. Chauncy, meanwhile, was trying to link Edwards to these heretical developments of theosis.


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